Friday, 27 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week -- an excerpt from DETOURS by Michelle Levigne

Tuesday, January 21

Bekka walked into the Tabor Picayune to go to lunch with Max and thought she would go deaf. People were lined up at the counter three deep and every phone in the office seemed to be ringing off the hook. Myrna, the wacky part-time receptionist, who seemed to be lobbying for the title of most irritating know-it-all in Tabor history, was in top form, arguing with half the people and talking on her cell phone, while ignoring the ringing phones. Bekka thought it was just delivery day craziness, until she took a second look at the people who were all demanding to talk to either Angela, the editor, or Toni Napolitano or Curt Mehdlang, and waving copies of the paper around. She didn't recognize a single one of those faces, which made her think they might not be Tabor residents. She stayed back by the door, wondering if she dared to run the gauntlet to the gate that separated the reception area from the rest of the office. Any moment now, one of those frustrated-looking strangers would get tired of arguing with Myrna or being ignored by her, lift the latch, and let them all into the office.

"Great! You're finally here. What took you so long? Do you know we have a newspaper to run here?" Max said, emerging from the long hall that led into the back of the long, narrow office suite, where the editorial department resided. She strode up to the gate and flipped the latch, and held up her arm to block the people who all seemed to think she was talking to them. She beckoned for Bekka. "We need that server up and pronto. I sure hope you have your usual magic bag of tricks inside that backpack of yours." She widened her eyes, silently urging Bekka to go through the gate.

It took a second to catch on to the cover story Max had offered her. Then again, Bekka had always hated improv sessions in acting class. She maintained she was a theater student to learn to write and to work backstage, not to act or get in front of the camera. Hunching her shoulders and trying to avoid eye contact with the people who now gave her easily interpreted 'She must be important -- who is she?' looks, she scurried through the gate. Max slammed it shut with a loud click of the latch sliding into place. Bekka followed her into the back of the office, amid the persistent ringing of the phones. Myrna's nasal rant stopped, meaning she had probably hung up her cell phone. The voices behind Max and Bekka rose up in demands again.

"What was all that about? What's going on?" Bekka said, as she followed Max down the narrow hall between the circulation and sales offices.

"Didn't you read today's paper?"

"I was planning on getting one when I came for lunch. I'm guessing you can't go?" She followed Max through editorial, which was slightly quieter, but all the lights on the phones were flashing like insane Christmas tree lights and every reporter was at his or her desk, talking on the phone. Bekka didn't see Curt or Toni at their desks, and Angela's office was closed and dark.

"If only. I'm afraid if I go outside, somebody will recognize me and I'll get deluged." Max pulled a copy of that morning's paper from one of the stacks of extras sitting in the kitchen.

"Who's Angel?" Bekka asked, scanning the headline that read 'Angel is Dead'. It was written by Toni and Curt.

"Toni's older sister, who was murdered twenty years ago." Max slumped down into a kitchen chair and rested her elbows on the table. "Angel had a secret boyfriend and he got jealous and killed her -- strangled her with fencing wire, down in the park. And he left white roses on her grave for months, until Toni's family left town."

"White..." Bekka sat down, feeling sick to her stomach. "They think he's the same guy who killed Gretchen and Katrina and Annalee?"

"The thing is, that shouldn't be today's front page story. Toni and Curt went behind Angela's back and put the story in, to force the White Rose out in the open." Max looked over her shoulder, then leaned closer to Bekka and lowered her voice. "Angela got white roses over the weekend, right here in the office."

"She looks like all of them," Bekka murmured. "All the White Rose's targets look alike. Even Sheila."

"The little girl Hannah Blake got out of town?" She closed her eyes and shook her head, looking as sick as Bekka felt. "This place has been a zoo since the delivery trucks went out. There were like fifty messages on the answering machine when we opened up at eight-thirty. Angela was steamed. I've never seen her so angry, not even with Myrna and all the stupid tricks she pulls. She told Toni and Curt to get out of here and take the day off, and talk to nobody whatsoever about that story."

"Where's Angela?"

"I wouldn't go home, if I were her. Myrna has given Angela's home number out so many times, it's getting expensive to keep getting a new unlisted phone number. I'd guess she's out riding, just to stay away from people. It's weird, being held prisoner in your own office."
"Does this place have a back door?" Bekka asked after a moment of thought.

"Yeah. There are some enclosed stairs that open out next to the loading dock for the bar downstairs. Why?" Max leaned back in her chair.

"I thought maybe I'd run out and get lunch for the office. Everybody's probably afraid to show their faces, and you don't want to give away the escape hatch by everybody suddenly vanishing and showing up in the parking lot."

"You are an angel."

Twenty minutes later, Max had gathered money from everyone in the office and phoned an order to Mancuso's. Bekka had enough money left over to tip the delivery boy handsomely for helping her carry fifteen side salads, eight two-liters of soda and ten pizzas and orders of cheesy breadsticks back to the office. Fortunately, it was a nice day out, no wind, no snow falling, sunny enough to make the walk across the center of town pleasant. Bekka used the trip to the pizza shop to pray for Angela.

When she paid off the delivery boy and deposited the many containers of lunch on the kitchen table, Bekka wandered out into editorial to let everyone know they could eat. Most of the reporters and the salespeople were gathered around Sherwood Gaines' desk. Everyone looked grim.

"Lunch?" Bekka said, feeling like an intruder.

"Where's Angela?" Chief Cooper barked, directly behind her. He stood in the hallway in front of Angela's closed, dark office. Without waiting for an answer, he slammed the door open and slapped his hand against the wall, turning the lights on. Then he stalked back out into editorial and glared at everyone, as if they had all lied to him by their silence.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Michelle Levigne shares her Favorite Author(s)

I don't have ONE favorite. There are many authors that I will buy without hesitating. And if they're dead, then I regularly revisit them. Or at least plan to revisit, because who has time to read much anymore? Lewis and Tolkein, of course. Anne McCaffrey. Lois McMaster Bujold. Nora Roberts. Mary Stewart. Max Lucado. Terry Pratchett. T.A. Barron. E. Nesbit. Edward Eager. Frances Hodgsen Burnett. Debbie Macomber. Janet Evanovich. Steve Lawhead. Kristen Billerbeck. Susan Grant. Linnea Sinclair. Camy Tang. I used to grab everything I could get my hands on of Andre Norton and Victoria Holt. And a lot of other authors that I can't list because of time/space, and the fact I'm working on this upstairs and my library is downstairs ...

Basically, I don't limit myself to one particular genre or style -- reading or writing. I have a lot of books in my library that originally sold for 95 cents, because I bought them for that little when they were new and refuse to get rid of them. Because to misquote C.S. Lewis, books worth reading as a child are worth re-reading as an adult -- they stand the test of time.

So how can you ask me to pick ONE favorite author?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Michelle Levigne shares her favorite movie

How can you ask me to choose ONE favorite movie?

I must admit that whenever "True Lies" shows up on TV, I usually watch it. Not sure why. It's fun. It's silly. I like the relationship, the changes in Harry and Helen. It's ROMANTIC.

In fact, in "Detours," I have Bekka sit down to watch what she considers the most romantic movie made since "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," -- "True Lies."

They take risks. They care about each other. They want more than the hum-drum ho-hum routine. Helen not only needs and wants a hero, she wants to get out there and be heroic. Harry is willing to be ridiculous and take risks for the sake of his marriage. He breaks rules to protect what's his.

How can you not love a hero like that? Especially when the woman he's fighting for DOESN'T sit there, clutching her bosom and whimpering for someone to rescue her.

What else do I like to watch? Okay, I have been known to sit through "The Mummy" for the umpteenth time. And I LOVE "Galaxy Quest," mostly because I am a recovering Trekker and the whole fandom silliness brings back memories. Along with the time my "ship" got our own working copy of the Enterprise and took off across the universe ...

And Star Trek IV is the quintessential fun Trek movie. Time for me to watch it again.

Oh, and all three Lord of the Rings movies. Of course.

So like I said before, how can you ask me to pick ONE favorite movie?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Michelle Levigne shares her passion for Inspirationals

Inspirational writing allows me to be fully dimensional -- acting on all the aspects of my life, the things I believe in and am interested in. As I grow spiritually, that impacts every part of my life, how I react to problems and triumphs and tragedies. Many of my books have spiritual elements of one kind or another. In my Commonwealth Universe books, there are very evident elements of spirituality. The Tabor Heights books let me bring it all back to Earth, so to speak. I didn't realize how much I was shortchanging or crippling myself when I was writing stories that didn't have a spiritual element, or where my editors urged me beyond my comfort zone. I can remember early in my writing career, I had a book rejected by one of the "big name" SF publishers, and the rejection letter specifically mentioned how jarring it was for the characters to mention spiritual matters -- as if once we get out into space, we leave God behind? Uh uh, ain't no way, Jose! With all due respect to the Great Bird of the Galaxy, there is no way we will ever outgrow God and our need for Him.

That's my answer, and I'm sticking to it. *grin*

Monday, 23 August 2010

Author Spotlight week - Q&A with Michelle Levigne

I'd like to welcome Desert Breeze Author Michelle Levigne to the spotlight this week. Michelle's latest release is "Detours." Welcome, Michelle!

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind your story, "Detours?"

MICHELLE: Setting: Freelance writing class in the continuing education program at the local vo-ed school. I made friends with Barb and Jesse -- don't remember who hooked up with whom first, but what we all remember is a remark about "Beauty and the Beast," which was in its first season at that time.

We ended up getting together weekly after the class ended, to talk about writing, about screenplays and books and our dreams, and someone made a remark about moving to Hollywood together and sharing a garret apartment (because that's all we could afford until we sold some scripts!) and I ended up with an idea for a book that I originally called "California Dreaming." That turned into a screenplay that I called "Detours and Dreams," about 3 college girls in Cleveland, hoping to go to Hollywood and write for TV and film. And eventually, when all the disparate books I had roughed or planned started drawing together into a community I ended up calling Tabor Heights ... I "discovered" that Kat was the daughter of Morgan and Lynette and it all started coming together.

STEPH - I don't know much about the book. Can you tell us?

MICHELLE: Bekka, Kat and Amy are drama students at Butler-Williams. Bekka writes fantasy and science fiction books, Kat writes screenplays, and Amy writes poetry. The book follows them from the day they move into their apartment, until their first anniversary as roommates. Kat never dates a guy more than twice, Amy is constantly breaking up with and making up with her songwriter boyfriend, Joe, and Bekka is too busy writing and working to have a boyfriend, but she really wants one. In fact, on the opening page, her morning prayers include a request for a boyfriend.

And just by coincidence, Shane also prays for a girlfriend, a "keeper" that very same day before he helps his good buddy Joe move his girlfriend, Amy, into the apartment.

Of course, there are lots of detours along the way before Shane and Bekka can get past longing looks and trying-and-failing to meet up and get to know each other. The reader gets Bekka perspective on the White Rose Killer, the accident that strikes the Randolph family and Homespun Theater, and the reunion between Dr. Morgan and Lynette Teague-Tyler that results in Kat learning Morgan is her father.

STEPH - Is it part of the Tabor Heights Series?

MICHELLE: Yes. All my books for Desert Breeze are set in Tabor Heights. So far, anyway.......

STEPH - How long have you been writing?

MICHELLE: I stopped counting at 25 years.

STEPH - What attracts you to inspirationals?

MICHELLE: It allows me to be fully dimensional -- acting on all the aspects of my life, the things I believe in and am interested in. As I grow spiritually, that impacts every part of my life, how I react to problems and triumphs and tragedies. Many of my books have spiritual elements of one kind or another. In my Commonwealth Universe books, there are very evident elements of spirituality. The Tabor Heights books let me bring it all back to Earth, so to speak.

STEPH- Have you written any other genres?

MICHELLE: Science fiction, fantasy, and drifting into some romance subgenres including futuristic, paranormal and suspense. I've written for YA in SF and fantasy. I write stage plays, screenplays and teleplays. I write all over the board, basically.

STEPH - Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share?

MICHELLE: Who has TIME for hobbies?

STEPH - What was the last book you read?

MICHELLE: Friday -- Percy Jackson #3, Titan's Curse.

Right now I'm reading several books simultaneously -- or else I started reading them, stopped in the middle, and I'm waiting to finish them, eventually: A book on screenwriting, by J. Michael Strazynski -- The Yada Yada Prayer Group, by Neta Jackson -- The Legend of Banzi Maguire, by Susan Grant -- The Chic and the Dead, by Casey Daniels -- and The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.

Yeah, I read all over the board, too. Actually, I'm concentrating on the Strazynski and Strobel books right now.

STEPH - What's your favorite TV show?

MICHELLE: Current TV -- Warehouse 13. I actually wrote a script for it, for a writing competition. My readers all liked it, but I didn't even make it to the finals ... their loss!

Don't ask me about all-time favorite TV shows, because there are too many. I have a LOT of 1st season DVD collections that I haven't been able to finish going through -- see the discussion on books ..... *sigh*

Friday, 20 August 2010

Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Fire & Ash

Half asleep, Sadie entered the kitchen and headed directly to the coffee maker. She took a cup from the cabinet, picked up the glass coffee pot and poured. Behind her she heard a roar of laughter. Looking down, she found the cup, as well as the pot, was empty. Aggravated, she glanced over her shoulder to the kitchen table where her family all sat watching her. "Who drank all the coffee and didn't start another pot?"

"That's what you get for sleeping in," Liz said with a grin.

Hannah got up and moved toward her. "Here, honey, sit down here and finish mine. I'll start another pot."

Sadie gave her a hug. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Now go on, sit down, and eat your breakfast."

She flopped down in the chair Hannah had vacated, traded the dirty place setting for the clean one next to it, then picked up her fork and stabbed the last pancake.

Joe handed her the plate with the last of the bacon. "Don't think that just because you were out all night that you're skipping out on church this morning."

Sadie glanced up at her uncle's comment just as Liz laughed. Sadie had hoped for a reprieve. It didn't appear as though she was getting one. "Fine, I'll go to church, but I'm not wearing a dress because I didn't bring one."

"You can borrow one of mine, I brought an extra one."

Sadie kicked her cousin under the table. "Mind your own business," she warned, a smile lingering just below the surface.

Liz seemed about to speak when Mary and Robbie ran into the room. Mary paused next to Sadie's chair. "It's about time you got up."

Liz laughed again.

Robbie climbed onto the empty chair next to Sadie. "Where were you last night?" he asked. "You were supposed to color with me."

Having just taken a bite, Sadie swallowed quickly, before turning to the young boy. "I'm sorry, Robbie. We'll color today, I promise."

"Okay." He plopped one elbow on the table, rested his chin in the palm of his hand, and watched her eat. "Are you coming to church with us?"

"Of course she's coming to church with us," Joe answered for her.

Sadie forced a smile. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."

Hannah filled her coffee cup. "So are you going to tell us where you were all evening?"

"No." Sadie scooped up her breakfast dishes and moved past Hannah to the sink. She smiled to herself as she rinsed off the plates and placed them in the dishwasher. She and Quinn had stayed at the arcade until Julius insisted he had to close. She'd had a wonderful time, despite her earlier confrontation with Dustin Zweener.

"Well wherever she was, the police had to bring her home. I saw a police cruiser leaving the drive shortly before one," Liz said loud enough for Sadie to hear.

"Did Sadie get arrested last night?" Mary asked.

Oh, good grief! Sadie returned to the table, grabbed her cup of coffee, and met Mary's widened eyes. "I did not get arrested. I was working on a case."

"You were with Quinn all night?" Joe joined in the interrogation.

Sadie rolled her eyes. "I'm going to get dressed. Where's your stupid dress?"

"Hanging in my closet," Liz answered with a smile. "Be sure and do your hair, you'll want to let him know there is a feminine side to you."

She ignored her comment and headed toward the stairs. "Is there something going on here I should know about," she heard her uncle ask, followed by a round of laugher from her aunt and cousin.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Author Spotlight week - Anne Patrick shares her favorite author

Hands down, my favorite author is Dee Henderson. Ms Henderson began her career at Steeple Hill before moving to Multnomah where she authored two series, The O’Malley series and The Uncommon Heroes series. Both of which are outstanding Christian Fiction. Her books have won numerous awards, including the prestigious RITA Award.

Her O’Malley series is my favorite. The O'Malley’s, an inspirational group of seven men and women, all abandoned or orphaned as teens, have made the choice to become a loyal and committed family. They have chosen their own surname, O'Malley, and have stood by each other through moments of joy and heartache. Each member of the family has their own story that will rock your heart and drive you to pick up the next in the series. Although the prequel, Danger in the Shadows, wasn’t released until later in the series I suggest you read it first.

I like Ms Henderson’s work because she creates believable and challenging characters. They’re not perfect; they all have flaws, just like we do. She mixes just the right amount of suspense, romance, and inspiration to create stories that lingers on our mind long after you’ve put the book away.

Out of all the authors I’ve read, Ms Henderson has inspired me the most. I hope to someday write with the passion and skill that she does.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Anne Patrick shares her favorite movie

Although I’m a diehard fan of suspense, I also love romantic comedy. Topping that category is the movie French Kiss, starring Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline and Timothy Hutton.

Kate (Meg Ryan) and Charlie (Timothy Hutton) have planned the perfect life together, buying a house, kids...the whole nine yards. Then Charlie has to fly to Paris for a medical convention. While in Paris Charlie meets and falls in love with another woman and calls off the wedding. Kate, determined to win Charlie back, flies to Paris. On the plane Kate meets petty French thief Luc Teyssier, played by Kevin Kline. Luc has problems of his own. He’s estranged from his family, and on the run from the police. Fearing he’ll get caught with a stolen necklace, he places it with a smuggled grape vine into Kate’s bag without her knowledge. At the airport Kate and Luc get separated, then her bag is stolen by another petty thief who Luc just happens to know. Luc and Kate track the thief down and manage to find the plant, but the necklace isn’t there and the thief swears he hasn’t seen it. The necklace later turns up around Kate’s neck. So off to Cannes they go. Luc’s goal is to get the necklace back and Kate’s to get Charlie back. But along the way, Kate and Luc begin to have feelings for one another and that changes the course of their lives.

This was a really great love story! Kate’s life is shattered when Charlie breaks her heart, but instead of giving up she faces her fear of flying and goes after what she wants. However, fate intervenes and she realizes Charlie isn’t the man for her. The classic opposites attract and love happens when you least expect it movie.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Anne Patrick shares her passion for Romantic Suspense

Short answer: I like to read and write stories that grab at your heart; keeps you on the edge of your seat, and uplifts and inspires you at the same time.

Truth is, I was born and raised a suspense junkie. I have my mother to thank for that. She loved her mysteries and thrillers. I think we watched my first Alfred Hitchcock movie together when I was ten, maybe younger. Of course I ended up sleeping with her that night, and I still get nervous when I see more than a dozen birds gather in one place.

It was the old Hitchcock movies and Nancy Drew Mysteries that fueled my already over-active imagination. My childhood days were filled dreaming up adventures for me and my friends. Later, probably as a way to keep me out of trouble, my mom suggested I write my exploits down instead of living them out. And the dream to be published was born.

My mother, of course, was always my biggest fan. She read everything I ever wrote and encouraged me to submit my stories. Unfortunately, she passed away before my dream was realized. I’m thankful she shared her passion for a good mystery with me. But more importantly, I’m grateful she shared her faith. She didn’t do that by words alone, but by her actions.

I incorporate that same faith in my stories. I know it’s hard to imagine a story about murder and mayhem as being inspirational, but since I love suspense and I want all my writing to reflect my faith that’s how my muse works. There is both evil and good in this world and I like combining the two and watching how my characters deal with it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with Anne Patrick

I'd like to welcome author Anne Patrick to the Desert Breeze Spotlight this week! Anne's latest release with Desert Breeze is "Fire and Ash," and inspirational romance centered on firefighting. Welcome Anne?

STEPH - What was the inspiration behind your story, "Fire and Ash?"

ANEE: The idea came to me while watching the DVD of the movie Backdraft a couple of years ago. I know, I’m a little behind in my movie watching :-). Anyway, I loved Robert DeNiro in the part of the fire investigator and was really intrigued by what all goes into finding the answers to why a fire started.

STEPH - I don't know much about the book. Can you tell us?

ANNE: Fire and Ash is an inspirational romantic suspense. Here’s the book blurb: Fire Investigator Sadie McGregor is called to her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri to investigate a suspicious fire which claimed the life of a local college student. By appearance the fire looks accidental. What Sadie and the handsome new police chief discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community and may cost one of them their life.

STEPH - I see that's about firefighting. Did you have to do research for the story?

ANNE: Of course! I read several books and did some online research. I then had the good fortune of meeting a real life fire investigator named Keith Tarbox who helped me get inside the head of my main character, Sadie McGregor. He also read over the entire manuscript to make sure the fire scenes were believable and that I did my homework.

STEPH - How long have you been writing?

ANEE: I’ve been spinning tales since high school, but I didn’t really get serious about my craft until about three years ago.

STEPH - What attracts you to inspirationals?

ANNE: I like to read and write stories that grab at your heart; keeps you on the edge of your seat, and uplifts and inspires you at the same time. Inspirational romantic suspense does all that.

STEPH- Have you written any other genres?

ANNE: I write inspirational romance under the name Kinzie Monroe.

STEPH - Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share?

ANNE: I love to hike and go as often as I can. I also like role-playing video games, like the Final Fantasy or Tomb Raider series.

STEPH - What was the last book you read?

ANNE: True Courage by Dee Henderson. I have all of Dee’s books and have read each one at least twice.

STEPH - What's your favorite TV show?

ANNE: I don’t watch much TV, but when I do have the time I watch crime shows like The Closer or CSI. Imagine that :-).

You can find Anne's book on Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for Nook, Sony, All Romance Ebooks, Books on Board, Apple Ibookstore, Kobo and at the Desert Breeze Online bookstore.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Killing Time

Mindy knew exactly what he meant. No matter how hard she squeezed her eyes together, the tears flowed, hot and stinging. Her make-up was melting away, but she didn't care. All that mattered was the moment in time where another human being understood her suffering.

Mindy had never felt so comfortable with a man, but yet so vulnerable for baring her soul. He handed her a napkin from the table and she wiped her eyes and blew her nose. When he did likewise, she wondered if he'd been crying, too.

"And, then there's Renee. That's a whole other story. Just when I find her, she's murdered. I'll find out what happened to her if it's the last thing I do." The tears came full force then as if a dam had burst.

Stone encircled her in his arms, his touch comforting. She felt his breath on her cheek.

Mindy wiped her eyes and sat up straight. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," he said, reaching up to wipe a stray tear from below her eye.

"I'm sorry to be such a cry baby. I don't know what's got into me."

He placed his hands on the sides of her face. The setting was perfect. The atmosphere was romantic and the night was warm.
"You are so beautiful," he said, looking into her eyes as if he could gauge her soul.

Her heart swelled in response to his words. A shiver of delight tickled her spine.

His face moved toward hers as he asked, "Can I kiss you?"

The heavy rhythm of her heart beating in her chest took Mindy's breath away. She leaned away ever so slightly and said, "There's one thing I have to know first."


She grinned and said, "You know my name, now what's yours?"

"Drew," he replied as his lips met hers.

Killing Time is avail at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony Ebooks, Kobo, Apple ebooks, All Romance Books, and the Desert Breeze website.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Author Spotlight week - K Dawn Byrd shares her favorite author

Author Michelle Sutton

Michelle Sutton is my favorite author and for more than one reason. I absolutely loved her Danger at the Door. I found her e-mail address on the Desert Breeze site and e-mailed her after reading the blurb and asked how to buy it in print. I just had to read that book, but didn’t want to do the ebook thing. Ebooks threatened the very existence of my beloved print books and I wouldn’t have that.

When Michelle responded and said that it was available only in eformat, I thought about it for a few days and finally purchased it. It's because of Michelle Sutton that I'm an ebook junkie. I read them on my BlackBerry on the go.

Shortly after I met Michelle, agent took a look at Killing Time. She liked the book, but said it might be hard to sell because she wasn’t sure how many women would read a book that was partially set in a jail. Michelle recommended that I try Desert Breeze and the rest is history.

I read all of Michelle's new releases and enjoy them tremendously. She's good at bringing romantic tension into her work and when I'm in the mood for something edgy, only her books will do.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - K Dawn Byrd shares her favorite movie

If you ask me one day what my favorite movie is, I may say, "Gone with the Wind." Another day, I may say, "Titanic." Today I'm saying Titanic because I just watched it on TV. Again. I love almost anything historical and as I stated earlier, I'm a huge suspense fan. Titanic provided the suspense I love with enough romance to captivate me.

I tend to navigate toward psychological movies such as A Beautiful Mind, The Aviator, and Shutter Island due to my interest in mental illness. These movies were absolutely fascinating. I've had several people ask about the mental asylum in Queen of Hearts and how I came up with the idea of sending my heroine into hiding there. I was browsing the web one night researching frontal lobotomies since one of my secondary characters had been subjected to this surgery and ran across this site. . I found it be so intriguing that I spent a lot of time going through the pictures, which gave me much insight into what the setting was like as my heroine was in the basement of the asylum running for her life.

As you can see, chick flicks don't rank at the top of the totem pole for me, but some people aren't crazy about suspense either. I can watch just about anything except for horror movies. I don't care for those at all. My imagination is so vivid that I'm not comfortable being alone in a dark basement after watching one. Thank God, there's something out there for everyone...even fraidy cats like me.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - K Dawn Byrd shares her passion for Inspirationals

Inspirational authors could just as easily write for the secular market if they chose. After all, a story is a story. I choose to write for the inspirational market because I'm a born again Christian and like to bring the fact that even Christians aren't perfect into my writing. For example, when my heroine in, Killing Time, is wrongly accused and incarcerated, she becomes angry with God. Haven't we all been there at some point? It doesn't do us much good, but it's human.

I enjoy reading good, clean books and I know when I choose to read inspirational novels, the story will be free of the sex, smut, and gore of the world. We're bombarded on all sides with it, but I can choose what to fill my mind with when I read. When I write, my goal is to provide a clean story that's suitable for all readers while entertaining them at the same time.

Since I write mainly suspense, my characters are plunged almost instantly into danger and intrigue. Sometimes the obstacles seem insurmountable. There are times when their faith in God is all they have. I like to show in my plots that even though God doesn't always rescue us out of the middle of the storms, He's there to lead us through it.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with K Dawn Byrd

Desert Breeze welcomes author, K Dawn Byrd in the spotlight this week. Her latest released is "Killing Time." Welcome K Dawn!

STEPH: What's the inspriation behind your story, "Killing Time?"

K DAWN: I've always been an avid reader and planned to write a book "one day." When I began work as a counselor in a jail, I thought that would be a neat setting for the book. I began to jot down notes about the environment such as sights, sounds, and smells. Before I knew it, my heroine had formed in my mind, begging me to tell her story.

STEPH: I don't know much about the book. Can you tell us a little about it?

K DAWN: I began to wonder what would happen if a strong Christian woman was wrongly accused and incarcerated. Would she lose her faith? Would she crack under the pressure? Here's the blurb from Desert Breeze Publishing:

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

K DAWN: I've been writing for about three years and have written five books. Killing Time is my first book. I must have edited it a dozen times as I studied the craft. I'd learn something from a new book and tear it apart again.

STEPH: What attracts you to inspirationals?

K DAWN: I'm a Christian of the Baptist faith and even though I don't "preach" religion in my books, my faith in Jesus Christ is evident because at least one of my characters is a Christian or becomes one by the end of the book. I enjoy reading and writing clean novels that would be appropriate for all ages. This is a must for the Christian market. Even though I write primarily for the adult market, my novels are clean enough for anyone.

STEPH: Have you written any other genres?

K DAWN: I have written one romance (no suspense), but haven't tried to place it with a publisher. I'm such a suspense junkie that it was hard for me to write that one. I absolutely love suspense and it's hard for me to keep it out of my books.

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who are your lead characters?

K DAWN: I use character worksheets to develop my characters. However, I do scour magazines in search of photos that look like my characters. Isla Fisher, in my mind, looks the most like my heroine. My husband looks like my hero (and he is my hero!). If you take a look at my video trailer, that's my husband on the Harley Davidson at the end.

STEPH: Care to share any hobbies with us?

K DAWN: I love to take long walks with my husband and our two Chinese Crested dogs. I enjoy planting flowers. My husband I both like antiques and love to scour antique shops together.

STEPH: What was the last movie you saw?
K DAWN: Shutter Island. I'd read the book and it left questions in my mind. I had to see the movie to clear them up.

STEPH: Have you read Stephenie Meyer's series? If so, Team Edward or Team Jacob?

K DAWN: I've read the first couple of books in the Twilight series. I really liked both Edward and Jacob. They each had some good qualities and they both loved the heroine. There were times I rooted for both of them. I guess I'm in equal camps on that one!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Reviews are in for Desert Breeze

"Helen Ravell shows in her elegant, expressive prose the stresses of a modern relationship...I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend Summer Wine."

Lindsay Townsend - Classic Romance Revival Reviews
Rating = 5 Wings

"... a very griping book, one that will hold a reader's attention until the very last page... most especially for the beauty of the author's writing style... Summer Wine is a perfect summer book, and one I definitely recommend."

You Gotta Read Reviews

"I want to say wow, but I'm not allowed. So I will say that the passion and intensity of feelings portrayed appeals to that special place we all have locked inside us. Julia and Cade are both strong in public, but when behind closed doors, it is their vulnerability that makes them lovable. Ms. Kincaid has provided a rare story that needs not one but a box full of tissues.

Holly - Reviewer/Coffe Time Romance & More
Rating: 5 Cups!
Recipient of the CTRR Award!


"Sue Perkins has written a lively story about a little girl who didn’t know any life except the one Darcy struggled to provide. They were both detailed in the book and were so loveable it was impossible to not be on their side. The chemistry between Darcy and Travis was electric... This book was a pleasure to read and I recommend it to all. It is light hearted and fun. It warms the heart. The happily-ever-after definitely presented some surprises."

Brenda Talley - The Romance Studio
Rating = 4.5 Hearts

"I couldn’t put the book down. I highly recommend it to anyone—even young adults. There is a beautifully sweet storyline. I can’t wait for the upcoming book to see who is next. Great job, Ms. Levigne!"

"Brenda Talley - The Romance Studio"
Rating = 5 Hearts!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Featured August Release - What the Heart Sees by Janice Zick


Ansel, an aspiring stand-up living in L.A. uses what he considers his unfortunate looks and his sad memories of childhood -- particularly Christmases past as fodder for his comedy routines. Often rejected on the basis of his looks alone, he is only attracted to tall, beautiful, svelte women he can only get by default compliments of his handsome, best friend Kirk, who “goes through women like socks.” When he dumps them, he gives Ansel their phone numbers; and because they’re devastated and on the rebound, they agree to go out with him because he makes them laugh.

When Greta, a slightly chubby, slightly stout, Midwestern girl moves into Ansel’s apartment building, they become ‘buddies.’ Or that’s what Ansel thinks. Greta has other ideas.

My name is Ansel Deusledorf, so you can see how I had a strike against me from the very beginning. I can't blame everything on my name. I realize that. There's the way I look, too. I look just like you'd expect someone to look with a name like Deusledorf. They should have named me Icabod instead of Ansel. Icabod Deusledorf -- it has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Except that every bully who ever picked on me during my entire childhood probably would have called me 'Icky' for short. I don't think I would have liked that.

Anyway, I have a rather skinny neck, a prominent Adam's apple and a somewhat beakish nose, both of which stick out farther than my whatzit does when it gets excited. My teeth are a little too big for my face and slightly buck. Suffice it to say, I never get the girl. Unless you count the ones I get by default -- compliments of Kirk Hanson.

If I sent my picture to the producers of that Extreme Makeover plastic surgery show on television, they'd take me straight away. Or that's what I thought, because I've heard the more work you need done, the more likely it is they'll choose you. They like dramatic changes in the after picture.

Actually, I sent a video to that program a few months back. They said and I quote: "We generally like to select people who have some potential."

I used this incident in my monologue once thinking I'd get a laugh. Instead, the entire audience said, "Awwwww." It wasn't the response I wanted. It was laughter I was after.

I saw a psychic on television the other day -- Saliva Tan I believe her name was -- who claims a soul picks its own parents. But, I can't imagine being allowed to select any two people from maybe a billion candidates and saying, "I'll take the homely ones standing over there by that tree -- the woman with the humungous nose and the skinny guy with buck teeth". Evidently, that's what I did.

I began my writing career as a free-lance journalist. I've written six novels in the last six years. I often work on more than one novel at a time. When I hit an impasse with one, I simply set it aside for a spell and work on another. Eventually, I know I'll break through my block. I cannot not write for any extended length of time.

Desert Breeze Congratulates Janice on her latest release!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Featured August Release - Killing Time by K Dawn Byrd

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

Mitch was waiting for her in the visitation area. Mr. Blair, his attorney, at his side. Delacy ushered her to a glass-front cubicle. Mindy longed to touch Mitch, to draw strength from someone stronger than herself, but the glass made this impossible.

Mr. Blair smiled and nodded toward the phone. Mindy picked it up, anxiety making her a little light headed. She shivered as the cold hard plastic of the receiver came into contact with her ear.

"Hello, Mindy," the elderly attorney said. "It's good to see you again. I wish it were under better circumstances."

"Me, too." They'd come to get her. She was going home.

"I can't represent you. I'm semi-retired and handle mostly real estate transactions. This is out of my league, so I'm going to call a good friend of mine, Bill Sands, and ask him to get in touch with you. He's a good attorney."

"Thank you." Tears threatened to overflow.

"I need to ask you some questions though. Okay?"

Mindy nodded.

"What led up to your arrest?"

K. Dawn Byrd has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. Her mother once said that she 'never knew she was on the place' as a child because she was always off somewhere reading quietly in a corner. She's a book collector and had over 2,000 titles at last count and even though she loves print books, she's fallen head over heels for ebooks, downloading several at a time into her Blackberry to read on the go.

When not reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told. Writing everything she's plotted will take decades, leading her well into retirement. Her retirement dream is to live on a golf course near Myrtle Beach and write novels while her husband plays golf.

Desert Breeze Congratulates K Dawn Byrd on her latest release!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Featured August Release - End Game by Gail R. Delaney

Nick Tanner set out months ago to find the Umani, and now he's on his way home. But things aren't the same. Not by a long shot.
Michael Tanner has struggled to find his place in his new worlds. He still questions his past, his existence, and the man he is becoming. And he has found a kind of love like no other -- a father's love.

Jacqueline wants more from him, more than he knows he can give. She wants to understand the haunting shadows behind his eyes... wants to understand the scars that mark his body. The battle to survive comes to a crescendo, and Michael must choose.

He bolted down the hall after her, nearly bowling over a tall, stunning woman with a mass of wavy, brown hair tied in a sky blue scarf. She stepped back, flattening her shoulders against the wall as he gripped the doorjamb of the first exam room and used it to propel him into the room as a barely muffled scream reached him. For half a second, his heart dropped into his gut.

Jacqueline was on the exam table, her knuckles white as she gripped the edge. Lacerations -- old ones rimmed red with infection -- crossed her bare arms and her clothes were dirty and torn. A more recent wound on her arm seeped dark red through the white bandage. Her neck arched off the pillow, her body shaking as she clenched her teeth, hissing sharply.

"Oh, God, Doc... please!" she screamed.

Michael moved to Jacqueline's side, hunching over her to hold her face in his hands. Her eyes were closed, her skin glistening with a fine sheen of perspiration. The tension in her body was enough to snap her in two.

"Jacqueline," he said softly but firmly. "Jacqueline, look at me."

Her eyes snapped open, her gaze immediately on him. Unshed tears made her eyes glisten and she sucked in another sharp breath. A tight groan forced its way through her teeth.

"I'm giving her a massive dose of Morphezine, Benzapriline and a fast acting NSAID," Lilly said softly as she loaded the infusion syringe in her hand.

"Jacqueline," he said again, not looking away even to acknowledge Lilly's words. "Jacqueline, hear me. You need to let the medication help you."

A choked gasp vibrated in her throat as she rapidly sucked in air, her eyes still locked hard on him. A drop of moisture escaped the corner of her eye and Michael brushed it away with his fingers.

"Look just at me."

Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had eight novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.

Desert Breeze Congratulates Gail on her latest release.

Featured August Release - Detours by Michelle Levigne

A year in the life: Bekka, Kat and Amy share an apartment and each other's ups and downs, tragedies and dramas and dreams. Bekka doesn't envy her roommates' various romances, considering herself too busy with work, school, and writing for a relationship, but she can't help wishing when Shane shows up – to date Kat. Shane is busy with work and school and some relationship problems of his own. He can't seem to catch a break, or catch up with Bekka long enough to get to know her better. One way or another, he's going to ask her out, if she'll sit still long enough for him to ask her.

Amy and Kat went grocery shopping that evening, leaving Bekka totally alone in the apartment for the first time in what felt like days. She had just pulled out her cover slick and the letter from Chuck Winters, her first real chance to study the packet he had sent, when the doorbell rang. It was Shane.

"Kat's not here," slipped out before Bekka could really think.

"I know." He tipped back his Stetson off his forehead and lounged against the doorframe. "Where have you been hiding?"

"Me? Hiding?" Bekka blushed when her voice squeaked.

"Yeah. I never see you anywhere."

"I'm usually somewhere in Kat's shadow."

"Oh." Now it was his turn to color a little. "Sorry about that. Hey, I was thinking about you and those swords..." He looked over her shoulder into the apartment, but the piles of costumes and props had finally vanished after a long afternoon of sorting and folding and ridding. "A lot of things, actually. They're having a silent movie festival at the Cinematique at the Cleveland Institute of Art tonight. All the swashbucklers, mostly Fairbanks. Want to go?"

"What about parasailing at the islands?"

"Just said that to rile up Kat. You think I want to spend the day with some guy who wears a stupid pancake hat and uses a fake accent to pick up girls?"

Michelle has been a book addict since picking up 'The Cat in the Hat'.

She started writing her own stories in junior high, when TV shows didn't turn out like she thought they should. Her first rejection letter came the summer after high school graduation, her first published story was in connection with fan fiction, and her first sale was in the Writers of the Future anthology.

With a BA in theater/English and an MA in Communications, focused on film and writing, she has worked for a local newspaper, then in advertising, and now works as a freelance editor. She is published in multiple sub-genres of romance, as well as SF and fantasy. Awards include being a finalist in the Dreamrealms and EPPIE competitions, with an EPPIE win in 2006.

Desert Breeze Congratulates Michelle on her latest release!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Featured August Release - Beyond a Viking Horizon by Tami Dee

Balmung Nabbodderson is a man whose feet are as firmly planted in the year 908 as the roots of his thriving crops.

Until, that is, he makes an unexpected discovery within the very soil he had vowed never to leave…

Iris Johnson is a woman of color living in the time of the Great Depression. Suddenly widowed, she is left to raise four children against all odds.

With the security and well being for her children her utmost concern, will she be able to trust and open her heart to a man who claims to have come from a Time one thousand years past?

"Good sleep, Iris."

Balmung tucked a gentle finger under her chin and tilted her face as he lowered his lips to hers. Sweet heat seeped through her as she returned his kiss with an urgency that left her breathless. His lips were firm yet soft, demanding as well as accepting. Her skin broke out in goose bumps when his big hands skirted over her back, then moved to her waist, caressing, stroking, easing their way over her ribs with tenderness and passion. They stopped just short of her breasts, a brief hesitation, as if waiting for a sign from her that they could continue their exploration. She briefly thought of her children sleeping just on the other side of the door, yet her body yearned. Yearned for something which she had taken for granted for so long, yet had ended so suddenly, so unexpectedly, so completely, when Noah had died.

She didn't realize that she was crying until he pulled his lips from hers and moved them to her damp cheeks. With a gusty sigh, he dropped two light kisses onto each of her closed lids, then tucked her under his chin and hugged her tight.

"I want you, Iris," he said, his voice thick with need. "And it is clear that you want me, also. But when we share a bed, it will be only you and I in that bed."

She gasped, jerking her eyes open to stare at him.

He gave her a soft smile. "It's okay, Iris," he soothed. "I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to have once loved so completely, knowing that you were loved so completely in return, and then suddenly find that your body can hum for another man. That you can have feelings for another man."

He trailed a finger down her cheek, following the path of a fresh tear. "I respect what you and Noah had. I will not ask you to try and have the same bound with me as you did with him. But I do want a part of your heart, and your body, Iris, a part which only belongs to me."

He sighed, pressing his forehead to hers.

"When you're ready, I will be waiting for you."

Tami is a member of Romance Writers of America, Desert Breeze Connections, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Her hobbies include reading, writing, going to the movies and taking weekend trips to Half Moon Bay, CA. She loves reading time travel romances and writing one myself has been very enjoyable.

Desert Breeze congratulates Tami on her new release!